Let’s Talk about Men and Trauma…

Let's Talk about Men and Trauma...

It is regrettable that men and women encounter traumatic events. Trauma is not something you are diagnosed with, it is something that happens to you.

When it comes to men and how we cope with trauma, there is a considerable difference between the genders. Statistics say that 60% of men in their lifetime will experience a traumatic event. Trauma can present in many forms, such as experienced in war or combat, natural disaster, witnessing a severe injury or death or maybe being in a dangerous accident. We, men, experience our traumatic symptoms differently.

We are told not to voice our feelings, to just get past things. Here is just a few of the common phrases men get told when going through an emotional crisis:

  • Man up
  • Don’t cry like a baby
  • Don’t act like such a girl
  • Just get over it you big girl
  • Put your big boy panties on and get going

These are just a few of the dismissive comments men receive that affect their mental health. It affects how they respond, what they think, how to express their emotional range, how we gauge closeness to others and more. Each man dealing with a traumatic event will deal with things in their own fashion. If you have experienced a trauma in your life, it is crucial to understand that trauma exhibits differently for men then it does women. Understanding and being aware of these changes will help you recognize the symptoms you experience.

Factors that may indicate you are dealing with trauma

  1. Irritability
  2. Isolation
  3. Eating disorders
  4. Erectile dysfunction
  5. Fatigue
  6. Lack of Trust
  7. Repressed Emotions
  8. Refuse to ask or seek help
  9. Lack focus or attention
  10. Avoiding difficult or stressful events

These are just a few of the symptoms men may experience when dealing with traumatic events that they have experienced. Many men raised in our society and cultures, never fully understand or grasp the full meaning of their emotional range or how to positively express it.

We are taught at a young age that experiencing an unpleasant or negative emotion is bad or wrong, and do not do that again. How does this end up manifesting at a young age then? Bouts of anger and rage, and sadly for some men, this coping technique follows them through life. More often than not, men will not seek help for trauma or emotional issues in their lives. There are some factors that lead to this.

Men view that seeking out therapy or help, makes them feel or be perceived as “weak.” This could not be farther from the case. I have spoken with the brave men that have protected their countries all over the world, and although they struggle at first to talk about how they feel, releasing that flood gate of emotions to someone who understands, feels like a great unburdening to their lives. We, men, seem to carry this belief that we should never talk about our feelings. I know for a long time, and my experience helping men in my practice, men do not feel therapy will help. The thoughts carry forward from there, “Why go to therapy if I am going to waste time or money for something that won’t help me.” Here is the issue with that line of thinking, the only way to find some healing and the ability to move past what we are experiencing, is by going to therapy and taking part in that process. If you choose not to, trying to recover from a traumatic event will be near impossible.

Final Thoughts

Men have struggled for a long time and contended with the traditional role of masculinity, and if you ask me, there is nothing more manly than learning how to express ourselves and embrace a side we have been told to repress. We are in a unique time to change the societal perspective of men in regards to how men deal with and experience trauma. While we may have life long issues with anger, feelings of isolation, lack confidence or avoid situations out of uncomfortability, it will only persist if you seek help in dealing with these issues. While we each experience and deal with trauma differently, that in no way means there is no benefit from therapy. If you are or someone you know needs help, I encourage you to reach out. You are not alone, and I am here to listen.